by Emma Foehringer Merchant
June 20, 2019

Corporates procured record amounts of renewables in 2018, both in the U.S. and globally. According to numbers from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 86 percent of global corporate renewables deals were signed in the last three years. Forty percent were signed in 2018. Numbers from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables show corporate solar deals drove nearly a quarter of the overall 2018 solar market.

Pushed by economics, a desire to present a portrait of sustainability to customers and urgency associated with the impending stepdown of the Investment Tax Credit, companies are keeping pace with last year’s U.S. solar purchases. About five months into 2019, solar deals already account for 20 percent of capacity signed.

A spate of recent announcements, many with novel structures, show that a wider diversity of contract types coupled with falling prices have helped corporate procurement become a key driver of the solar market's growth.

Colin Smith, a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, offered a wry take on the synthesis between smart business and the do-gooder image companies are scrambling to take advantage of.

“There are still people that think corporate procurement of large solar plants is solely driven by a desire to save the environment, or be more sustainable, without really considering cost savings,” said Smith. “Groups like Facebook and Target aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their heart. … In aggregate, they’re saving millions of dollars by signing these long-term procurement contracts.”